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Among young people, the madness of chess

We imagined them in front of video games and we find them in front of a chess board. Since the first confinement and especially since the resounding success of the series The Lady’s Game, broadcast in October on Netflix, young people are passionate about this strategy game. ” Sales have increased six-fold in 2020 and we have seen an increase of 216% since January, observes Bernard-Xavier Spokojny, communications manager for La Grande Récré. Today, everyone is out of stock, in France and abroad.. “

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Online gaming sites have also seen their audience explode, according to Jean-Baptiste Mullon, vice-president of the French Chess Federation. “According to the comments, the audience is quite young, he observes. We can also see it in the success of Youtubeur Kevin Bordi, who had peaks of 30,000 simultaneous connections in April, during the Tournament. candidates from Yekaterinburg. ” The craze does not quite surprise this international master: “It’s a very popular game in schools, where between 300,000 and 400,000 children are introduced each year. “

Elite reputation

Brieuc, 9 years old, just discovered it in large section. Very quickly passionate, he was enrolled in a club by his parents and even took private lessons. ” What I like the most, he said, it is to find new combinations, spectacular and effective shots. “ Judged to be very talented and already a competitor, he now trains three times a week in a club and every day at home where he “Review openings” and sometimes plays against himself when he is bored.

Deemed elitist, chess is nevertheless accessible from an early age. “A 5-year-old is quite capable of understanding the rules, assures Thierry Ripoll (1), researcher in neurosciences. It is, moreover, a game which allows you to fix your attention for a long time on something, which has become rare. “

Contrary to our times, it also avoids, according to the specialist, one of the major pitfalls of our cognitive functioning: decisions taken too quickly on the basis of an intuition. But if it develops the capacities of reasoning, this game makes especially work the memory, underlines Thierry Ripoll. “A very good player is someone who has racked up an incredible amount of playing situations.”


In our opinion

Stimulating the brain, chess can be played with the family or online, against a computer or players from a distance. At high doses, they can nevertheless prove to be addictive, although the risk is much lower than with certain video games, for example.


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